Prior to becoming Seth Rollins and gaining success in the WWE which includes winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 31, he was a popular independent wrestler that fans were supportive of in Ring of Honor. He went by Tyler Black and was being groomed as the next top star for the company.
For all of 2009, Tyler was involved in a feud with Jimmy Jacobs and Austin Aries, the latter being the ROH World Champion. Black wrestled Aries to a sixty minute draw at Final Battle in December 2009 which didn’t sit well with many fans.
Black would get a rematch with Aries at the 8th Anniversary Show on February 13th, 2010. There wasn’t a sixty minute draw this time around as Black was able to win his first and only ROH World Championship after twenty-two minutes of action by pinning Aries following the Phoenix Splash.
Black would make his first appearance as champion against Rhett Titus during the March TV taping for HDNet and would air on April 26th. Following the victory over Titus, Black had a confrontation with Roderick Strong who wanted a championship match. Strong would slap Black for calling him a bitch and their fight would be stopped moments later.
The feud with Aries would continue throughout the month of March as Tyler would retain the championship against Aries on March 26th and in a triple threat match also involving Roderick Strong the following night. The triple threat match would be repeated on the April 3rd internet pay per view The Big Bang. Black retained the championship pinning Austin Aries again.
Following the match, Black was attacked by Kenny King, who was an ally of Aries. That attack would lead to a championship match between the two at the Pick Your Poison event on April 23rd. King put forth a great effort surprising many fans with being able to work a twenty-five minute match with Black, but came up short in the end.
Chris Hero stepped up as the next challenger for the ROH World Championship after complaining about not getting a title shot for months. He got his shot at Tyler Black on April 24th at Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies II. It was twenty-four minutes of stellar action with Black being able to retain the gold following the God’s Last Gift.
The feud between Tyler and Aries would continue but as part of a secondary feud. Tyler teamed with Delirious to wrestle Aries and Rhett Titus in a grudge tag match on May 7th at Civil Warfare. Black and Delirious were victorious with Delirious getting revenge by pinning Titus.
Don’t forget about Roderick Strong and how he wanted a title shot. Well, on May 8th at Supercard of Honor V the two men squared off in a singles match. Three months prior Black was loved by the fans but now the New York fans have turned on Black and aren’t go receiving to him. For so long they wanted him to be champion and once he obtained it they went sour on him. Roddy tried to dethrone Black, but came up short in another great title defense for Black.
Austin Aries got another title match but on HDNet on June 6th. Black retained the title over Aries and essentially ended the feud between the two with the victory. The feud had been going on for well over a year at this point.
“The King of Old School” Steve Corino was next up to wrestle Tyler Black. The bout occurred on June 18th although it was a non-title match. Corino main purpose of wrestling Black was to weaken the champion for the scheduled defense against Kevin Steen in Chicago. Corino worked over Black’s knee but wasn’t able to walk out victorious.
The following night, Tyler defended the belt against Davey Richards at Death Before Dishonor VIII. At this point, myself and a friend were really interested in the product and were really wanting Davey to win the championship. The match is incredible and the crowd atmosphere makes the whole match one my personal favorites in ROH history. Black was able to retain the championship and we were rather bummed about it.
Tyler’s next big title defense would take place on July 24th in Chicago at Salvation when he defended the championship against mega heel Kevin Steen. At this point, Steen was looking to win the title and be the anti-christ while also helping Black by winning the gold so the fans would stop booing him and cheer him again as he would probably chase the championship again. The match continued the trend of fantastic matches during Tyler’s reign and made Kevin Steen appear at a level above everyone else as a heel. Black was able to retain the championship by making Steen submit to the Sharpshooter.
During the August 20th taping for HDNet, Black officially turned heel as he signed a contract with the WWF and would be assigned to the developmental level of the company following his commitments to ROH. Black made his attitude change evident at the August 27th event Champions’ Challenge where he cheated to defeat ROH Television Champion Eddie Edwards. It was really the first instance of there not being a clean finish involving Tyler during his title reign.
Tyler wrestled Christopher Daniels to a thirty minute draw at Fade To Black on September 10th before his last appearance for ROH. Tyler’s final match took place on September 11th at Glory by Honor IX in New York, the same venue that had turned on the champion a handful of months previously. Roderick Strong was picked by officials to save the ROH World Championship from being brought to the WWE similar to the 2005 angle with CM Punk. Tyler’s desire to embarrass the company would not become a reality as Roderick Strong won the ROH World Championship in a no disqualification match.
Unlike CM Punk, Tyler Black didn’t shake Roderick Strong’s hand and instead gave the New York crowd the finger and promptly left ROH to head North and climb the ranks in the WWE.
What are your memories of Tyler Black’s reign as ROH World Champion in 2010?
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